Police have seized a luxury car belonging to Sagar Thakkar alias ‘Shaggy’, alleged kingpin of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) call centre scam of Thane in which thousands of Americans were defrauded to the tune of USD 300 million.
The Audi car, valued at Rs. 2.5 crore, was seized by Thane police from Ahmedabad and was allegedly purchased from a leading cricketer in May, police said.
The US Justice Department has charged 61 people and entities linked to the scam where call centre agents impersonated IRS, immigration and other federal officials and demanded payments for non-existent debts.
Asked about this development, Thane Police Commissioner Parambir Singh said, “We will see if the accused persons are the same.”
“We will ask FBI to give their list. We will share our list too,” the IPS officer said.
The scam, which operated since 2013 through at least half a dozen call centres in adjoining Thane, targeted at least 15,000 American citizens.
US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said these call centres stole more than USD 300 million from their victims.
A senior US Justice Department official was quoted as saying that “It’s really important for the scammers in India to know that the United States is looking at this, is watching them and they could, if they engage in that activity, be extradited to the United Sates and could sit in jail … for several years.”
The scam, wherein US-based taxpayers were allegedly conned by Indian tele-callers posing as American tax and immigration officials, was unearthed early this month when police raided a clutch of call centres at Mira Road in Thane district.
Subsequently, police teams raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket.
Over 70 people, mostly directors and key persons linked to these call centres, have been arrested till now.